Carmel by the Sea

by Cindy
(San Diego, CA)

Mr. Bing at Ocean View Lodge, Carmel

Mr. Bing at Ocean View Lodge, Carmel

Mr. Bing at Ocean View Lodge, Carmel
Beautiful Home by Carmel State Beach
Caraccioli Cellars, Carmel
Ghost Tree

San Diego is an amazing city to live in. I admit, I am a bit biased, being that I have lived here since 1997 and absolutely love it! We have the best weather in the country and can be outside enjoying our beaches 365 days a year.

Yet when you live and work in the same city, and you need some down time, where do you go on vacation? If you have to leave SD, Carmel by the Sea, is not a bad choice. In fact, it is phenomenal. It is one of my favorite vacation spots. First and foremost, it is a dog friendly city and that means a great deal to my family. We have a 15 year old German Shepherd/Black Lab mix, that is our son. We usually plan all vacations around “Mr. Bing.” He has separation anxiety and starts to freak out as soon as he sees our suitcases. The fact that we can take him on vacation with us makes us extremely happy.

There are many pet friendly hotels and cottages. You can find a great list at

One of our favorite places to stay is the Horizon Inn & Ocean View Lodge. It is an affordable cottage style hotel, with amenities like a full kitchen, a fireplace, dining room table, nice large master bedroom, and clean bathroom. It is also located in the center of town so it is walking distance to all the stores and shops.

It is close to Bruno’s Market & Deli, so you can walk a few blocks to get groceries and supplies if you plan on cooking while you are there. Bruno’s also has a great wine selection to choose from.

If you are looking for something a bit more upscale, The Cypress Inn is fabulous. It’s been a landmark boutique style hotel in Carmel since 1929. They even have a dog friendly happy hour where your four legged friends can cozy up to you at the bar and eat treats while you have a martini! It is truly fabulous.

When you are in Carmel, there are so many amazing things to do. You have to hit the beach in the morning or at sunset to take in the breathtaking views. The beaches are stunning and believe it or not, leash free for your dogs. It is a bit cooler in Carmel, so if you go in the summer, it is perfect! We went the first week in August and had temperatures in the high 60′s and low 70′s in the day time and low 50′s at night. The beaches have beautiful white sand and gorgeous green trees everywhere.

Each morning we ran about an hour around the beach trail and back to the center of town. There are many hills but it is an awesome workout. You get to see all the beautiful homes in Carmel. We took a few pictures of our favorites.

As far as dining and entertainment, there are so many delicious restaurants and cafe’s to choose from. I will give you a few of our absolute favorites and you cannot go wrong with any of these.

The most romantic restaurant in Carmel has to be Casanova’s which is located on Fifth Avenue between San Carlos & Mission. It is an old house that has been in Carmel for over 50 years. It used to belong to a lady named “Aunt Fairy Bird,” who was the cook for Charlie Chaplin. In 1977, this house was remodeled to look like an old farm house. They have a world class wine collection which is stored 14 feet under the ground in their wine cellar. One of my favorite parts of the restaurant is the heated outdoor garden dining room, with trees light up with soft glowing lights. The food is a mix of Country French & Italian Cuisine. It is a must see in this quaint city.

Another great place to eat is Forge In the Forest which serves American Fare. It is reasonably priced and has a great atmosphere. You can get anything from pizzas to burgers at this place and it is another pet friendly location. Their outside patio is really cool and the place to be seen in Carmel.

For breakfast and deserts and yummy coffee, I love The Carmel House & Roasting Company on Ocean Street between San Carlos & Dolores. They have the best coffee in Carmel and the most amazing pastries and desserts. They are 100% certified organic as well.

For an amazing cheese plate and some delicious wine, our favorite wine tasting room in downtown Carmel is Caraccioli Cellars. Run by a Swiss-Italian family, the Caraccioli’s produce an amazing Sparkling Brut Rose’ that is out of this world. You can taste a wine flight of reds or whites which I like, as I prefer white. The decor is gorgeous and has a warm old world style. You have to check this place out. They are so friendly and knowledgable here.

So you probably know me pretty well if you have looked at my videos. One of the things that I am most passionate about is shopping. Every time I go to a new city or town I like to explore all the cool stores and boutiques and buy some great pieces to bring back for my overflowing closet.

Let’s not kid ourselves, I can literally find something to buy in just about any store. All kidding aside, Carmel has some unique and very fashionable stores. I stumbled upon a boutique that I literally could have bought everything in it, if I only had a black American Express card! This place is so stylish. It is called Girl Boy Girl and it is located on Mission between Ocean Avenue & 7th. They carry some of my favorite brands from Elizabeth & James, to Twenty 8 Twelve by Sienna Miller. They also carry Rag & Bone, Haute Hippie, Current & Elliott, and Robert Rodriguez.

Another amazing shop that I fell in love with is called Ajne Parfumerie & Apothecary located at Misssion Street at Seventh Avenue in the Court of The Fountains. In this beautiful shop you can create a custom scent blended from over 300 100% pure plant- distilled essential oils. I spent about an hour in this gorgeous shop with Jessica Richter, showroom manager & Me’langeur. She lets you pick scents that you are drawn to then creates something unique for you and pours your scent into these amazing custom bottles. You get to pick from Gold or Silver and if you would like a bottle or a pendant necklace to keep your custom scent.

I picked the silver pendant to wear which is very elegant and looks like an ornate piece of jewelry. Many celebrities have created custom perfumes here and I was told I was drawn to the same scent as Jessica Biel. How cool. I knew I had good taste.

The last thing I suggest you do while visiting Carmel is take the 17 Mile Drive. It is one of the most scenic drives in the world. It runs from Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach and it is truly breathtaking. You pay a toll of $9.50 to enter the drive and you get a map which gives you a history of the area and a guide of 21 different points to stop along the drive. Some of my favorites are The Spanish Bay, Cypress Point Lookout, The Ghost tree, and The Lodge at Pebble Beach. The Ghost tree, is a huge Monterey Cypress tree with a sinister silhouette that has been bleached white from the wind.

By Cindy from The Pulse

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